It’s that time of year again, where everyone sets out with great intentions to do better in their lives. Whether it’s quitting smoking, losing some weight, or being more organized, we all do our best initially but sometimes fall short after a month or two. One of the biggest reasons a lot of us set ourselves up for failure, is that we set extravagant goals that cannot or will not be reached for a significant amount of time. After a few months, the goal feels unattainable and we give up. Here are some important factors to consider when setting lifestyle goals for yourself in the New Year:
- Make sure that your goal is measurable. For example, “I’d like to be more organized this year”. There is no way to measure whether you have satisfied this goal or not. Changing your goal to “I’d like to put away the dishes in the kitchen every day in order to stay more organized” is something that you can measure whether you did or didn’t do.
- Make your goal attainable in a short period of time. Rather than telling yourself you’d like to lose 50 pounds this year, shorten your goals and set new ones as you achieve them. Set a goal to lose 10 pounds in the month of January instead, and then continue your progress as you go.
- Set a goal that is feasible for you to be able to reach. If you don’t know how to attain this goal, or don’t have the means to do it, you are setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.
- Be specific. Deciding you would like to quit smoking in 2017 is great, but when exactly will you do it? Your mind will continue to justify having another cigarette if 2017 is still not over. Instead, decide that you would like to smoke your last cigarette at midnight on March 14th at the kitchen table while you watch reruns of “Friends”. Once you’ve done this, your smoking should be over.
- When goals are achieved, celebrate your successes and continue the process. Life is a never-ending learning lesson and we can continue to better ourselves throughout, but don’t forget to celebrate how far you have come.